horse race betting terminology

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Horse race betting terminology

There are many ways to handicap a horse race in order to pick a winner. Some players rely exclusively on past performances, others are pure physical handicappers meaning they watch the horses prior to the race to pick out which ones look the best , some play pedigrees, others compile their own speed and pace figures, and others find new and inventive ways to select their horse.

There is no one way to handicap a race, but there are some basics that every player usually develops. If you're looking for the raw data that is the lifeblood of handicapping the horses, you're going to want to get familiar with several websites: the Daily Racing Form , Equibase , and Brisnet.

At each of these websites some of the data is free and some of it requires you pay a fee. Generally, entries with morning line odds , scratches and changes, and results charts are free. If you want Past Performances and other handicapping products clocker reports, pedigree data, etc.

Brisnet and the DRF generally require that you register to access the basic data. The registration is free. The Daily Racing Form is pretty much the Bible for many horseplayers — it provides past performances for almost every race around the country.

You can buy a Racing Form in print at your local newsstand or gas station there's a Form Finder on their website , or download the Form over the internet at their website using their Formulator program. Equibase and Bristnet also sell past performance information; we've used Brisnet PPs in the past but have never tried out the ones from Equibase.

Most of these sites will have samples of what their PPs look like and it's a good idea to see what's out there and what works for you if you want to buy this type of information. Horse racing, more than any other sport, lends itself to many people trying to sell a potpourri of information to players. Tip sheets, data programs, betting strategies, pedigree analysis, and on and on and on.

Some of the information that is out there is great and some is pure crap. If you are just starting out in this game, start slow. Pick up a Form and take it piece by piece. As you get more into the game you'll start to know what information you want to have and what information is just a waste of money. In our opinion, learning to read the form is the first step in the birth of a handicapper. Even if in the future you utilize other methods than past performances to handicap a race, the foundation of handicapping knowledge can be built by learning how to read a racing form — whether it's a form by DRF, Brisnet, Equibase, or something entirely different.

All of the companies that sell past performance usually have "How To" guides explaining what all the symbols and numbers on their forms mean. A form can be very intimidating if you have no idea what any of the names and numbers represent, but once you learn the vocabulary it can be as beautiful as a priceless work of art. Learning to read a racing form will help you to understand the four basic pillars of handicapping: speed, pace, form, and class.

Simply put, "speed" is related to how fast the horses run the entire race; "pace" concerns how fast the horses run at different points of a race; "form" is related to the current condition of the horse and whether it has been running good or bad in its recent races, and "class" relates to the level of competition a horse has been competing against.

A set of past performances provides clues to all four of these handicapping pillars, clues that the player must decipher in order to place a winning bet. Learning to read a set of past performances isn't difficult but it's also something perfected over time. Once you master an understanding of what the data means, you then can move on to determining how much weight you want to give certain factors in making your wagering decisions. You'll also start to develop you're own handicapping style, which is when the game starts to become a lot of fun — when you start picking winners based on your own theories and conclusions.

If you want to watch live racing from the comfort of your own home you've got essentially two options: you can watch on one of the two TV channels that cover racing, or you can watch live streaming video over the internet. Both networks broadcast the live simulcast feeds from the tracks and have on-air personalities that handicap the races throughout the day. Most cable companies offer TVG, although many have it as part of a sports pack or something similar. If you don't get TVG from your cable or satellite provider, you can still watch all the action through the wonderful world of the internet.

Live video streaming is provided free by a few tracks too few, if you ask me. Tampa Bay Downs, for example, is one track where you can go to their website and watch all of their races live. They also provide free replays. Keeneland also provides live steaming during their spring and fall meets. If you want to watch the action from all tracks over the net you can usually watch through a wagering website if you are a registered member. The next section deals with wagering websites, or ADWs.

Just watching horse racing is great, but the true thrill of the game is the ability to put your money where you mouth is and bet on the horses. If you want to wager on all the action and you don't want to drive to your local track or OTB, AND you live in a state that allows ADW Advance Deposit Wagering , you can wager over the internet or the phone through one of several sites.

Below is a list of a few of the larger ADWs that people use to wager. Every site is different; some provide free video streaming, others charge a monthly fee or a "per wager" fee depending on your handle, and some give you rebates depending on how much you wager. If you decide to sign-up with an ADW, make sure you read all of the rules and requirements.

Many ADWs are going to no-wagering fees and free video, but you should always do your homework before you leap. Make sure you check what tracks each site allows you to bet on because you don't want to sign up with an ADW that doesn't allow you to bet on Keeneland if you really like to bet Keeneland.

Go to one of the websites and try to sign-up. When you put in your address, the system will let you know whether they can take bets from you or not. Below is a short list of the big, well known ADWs. There are many others out there - some good, some not so good. We make no representation about any of these; some we've used in the past, others we've never played with. Okay, with that little bit out of the way, let's take a look at the betting lingo and the types of wagers one can make on an equine athlete.

Below is the smorgasbord of wagering opportunities offered by Churchill Downs on Derby Day:. WIN: A bet on a horse to win if you don't know this you probably shouldn't be betting. Those are the standard bets that everybody is familiar with. They are simple, straight forward, it's easy to calculate the cost, and they are easy to make. Where things start to become more complicated is with what are known as the exotic bets. Below are the exotic wagers offered by Churchill Downs this weekend:.

Wagering on horses is done via pari-mutuel wagering, a system of wagering where each player is betting against other players, not the house. The odds represent what percentage of the total pool each horse is receiving. Below is an odds-percentage conversion chart for typical odds in horse racing. To figure you how much you'll get paid if you hit your win bet, simply divide the numerator of the odds by the denominator, multiply that number by the amount bet, and then add the amount bet.

Place and Show payouts are more difficult to calculate since tracks don't display the odds on those bets. Usually, they pay less than half what the winning odds play unless the horse is a huge longshot and the favorite doesn't finish in the top three. Figuring out the payouts on exotics are a mixed bag; tracks display the "Will Pays" for exactas and daily doubles, but you won't have a clue as to what your trifecta, superfecta, Pick 3, etc.

Strictly speaking, placing a straight bet means that you're wagering on the horse to win—period. If it finishes second by a nose, you've lost. But a looser definition says a straight bet is when you wager that a horse will finish first, second or third. That said, several terms relate to different kinds of straight bets that can increase your odds of winning a little money.

A winning horse will pay the most on bets that it will finish first. It will pay a little less for place bets and even less for show bets, but it can effectively pay out in three ways—thus the allure of across-the-board bets. As the name suggests, "exotic" wagers are fancier and more complicated. They involve more than one horse. This means they're harder to win, but they also pay more than straight bets.

Racing can also provide a comparatively gentle way of wagering—you don't have to bet that the horse will come in first.

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More women should get in to sports betting A canadian consists of 26 bets involving 5 selections in different events. Just one successful selection guarantees a return. The Art of Manliness. Of course, the higher the base amount, the more expensive your ticket becomes. J Jump Racing.
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Online football betting strategies in roulette In fact, the best wagering strategy usually involves finding a solid win bet before doing anything else. The favourite is the selection most likely to occur in a betting event. Professional bettors target overlays, meaning they target bets that offer better than fair value odds. Odds compiler. Underlay — A horse whose odds are less than than his potential to win. Tampa Bay Downs, for example, is one track where you can go to their website and watch all of their races live.
Sports betting forum mma spot A type of race in which the horses must jump over fences and ditches before they reach wisconsin illinois betting line finish line. They involve more than one horse. A price of For example:. They weigh the jockeys and their equipment both before and after the race to make sure everything is how it should be. Many ADWs are going to no-wagering fees and free video, but you should always do your homework before you leap.

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Back To bet or wager. Backed A 'backed' horse is one on which lots of bets have been placed. Backed-In A horse which is backed-in means that bettors have outlaid a lot of money on that horse, with the result being a decrease in the odds offered.

Back Marker In a standing start event, which is handicapped, the horse who is given the biggest handicap is known as the backmarker. Backstretch The straight way on the far side of the track. Back Straight The straight length of the track farthest away from the spectators and the winning post. Backward A horse that is either too young or not fully fit. Banker Also, Key Highly expected to win. The strongest in a multiple selection in a parlay or accumulator.

In permutation bets the banker is a selection that must win to guarantee any returns. Bar Price Refers to the odds of those runners in a race not quoted with a price during early betting shows. The bar price is the minimum odds for any of those selections not quoted. Barrier Also, Tape A starting device used in steeple chasing consisting of an elastic band stretched across the racetrack which retracts when released.

Barrier Draw The ballot held by the race club to decide which starting stall each runner will occupy. Bat Also, Stick A jockey's whip. Beard US A friend or acquaintance or other contact who is used to placing bets so that the bookmakers will not know the identity of the actual bettor. Many top handicappers and persons occupying sensitive positions use this method of wagering. Bearing In Out Failing to maintain a straight course, veering to the left or right.

Can be caused by injury, fatigue, outside distraction, or poor riding. Beeswax UK slang term for betting tax. Also known as 'Bees' or 'Ajax'. Bell Lap In harness racing, the last lap of a race, signified by the ringing of the bell. Bet A transaction in which monies are deposited or guaranteed. Betting Board A board used by the bookmaker to display the odds of the horses engaged in a race. Betting Ring The main area at a racecourse where the bookmakers operate.

Betting Tax Tax on a Bookmaker's turnover. In the UK this is a 'Duty' levied on every Pound wagered. In the latter case, no tax is deducted from the punter's winnings. Bettor US Someone who places or has a bet. A 'Punter' in the UK. Beyer Number A handicapping tool, popularized by author Andrew Beyer, assigning a numerical value to each race run by a horse based on final time and track condition. This enables different horses running at different racetracks to be objectively compared.

Bismarck A favourite which the bookmakers do not expect to win. Blanket Finish When the horses finish so close to the winning line you could theoretically put a single blanket across them. Blinkers A cup-shaped device applied over the sides of the horse's head near his eyes to limit his vision. This helps to prevent him from swerving away from distracting objects or other horses on either side of him.

Blinker cups come in a variety of sizes and shapes to allow as little or as much vision as the trainer feels is appropriate. Board Short for 'Tote Board' on which odds, betting pools and other race information are displayed.

Bomb er A winning horse sent off at very high odds. Book A bookmaker's tally of amounts bet on each competitor, and odds necessary to assure him of profit. Bookie U. Short for bookmaker. The person or shop who accepts bets. Bookmaker Person who is licensed to accept bets on the result of an event based on their provision of odds to the customer.

Sportsbook US. Bottle UK slang, odds of 2 to 1. Box A wagering term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered. Boxed in To be trapped between other horses. Bobble A bad step away from the starting gate, sometimes caused by the ground breaking away from under a horse and causing him to duck his head or go to his knees.

Bolt Sudden veering from a straight course. Book A collection of all the bets taken on fixed odds betting events. Bookmaker Bookie A person registered and licensed to bet with the public. Breakage Those pennies that are left over in pari-mutuel payoffs which are rounded out to a nickel or dime. Breeders' Cup Thoroughbred racing's year-end championship.

First run in Bridge-Jumper US Bettor who specializes in large show bets on odd-on favourites. Bug Boy An apprentice rider. Bull Ring Small racetrack less than one mile around. Buy the Rack US Purchase every possible daily-double or other combination ticket. Canadian Also known as a Super Yankee. A Canadian is a combination bet consisting of 26 bets with 5 selections in different events. The combination bet is made up of 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five 4-folds and one 5-fold.

Card Another term for fixture or race meeting. Caulk Projection on the bottom of a shoe to give the horse better traction, especially on a wet track. Chalk Wagering favorite in a race. Dates from the days when on-track bookmakers would write current odds on a chalkboard. Chalk Player Bettor who wagers on favorites. Chase See 'Steeplechase'. Checked A horse pulled up by his jockey for an instant because he is cut off or in tight quarters. Chute Extension of the backstretch or homestretch to allow a longer straight run.

Client US Purchaser of betting information from horseman or other tipster. Close US Final odds on a horse e. Confusingly equates to 'Starting Price' in the UK. Closer A horse that runs best in the latter part of the race closing race , coming from off the pace. Co-Favorites Where three or more competitors share the status as favorite. Colors Colours Racing silks, the jacket and cap worn by jockeys. Silks can be generic and provided by the track or specific to one owner. Colt An ungelded entire male horse four-years-old or younger.

Conditional Jockey Same as 'Apprentice' but also allowed to jump. Correct Weight Horses are allocated a weight to carry that is checked before and, for at least the placegetters, after a race. Correct weight must be signaled before bets can be paid out. Daily Double Type of wager calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races, usually the first and second.

See 'Late Double'. Daily Racing Form A daily newspaper containing racing information including news, past performance data and handicapping. Daily Triple A wager where the bettor must select the winner of three consecutive races. Dead Heat A tie. Two or more horses finishing equal in a race. Dead Track Racing surface lacking resiliency. Declaration Of Weights The publication of weights allocated to each horse nominated for a race by the handicapper.

Declared In the United States, a horse withdrawn from a stakes race in advance of scratch time. In Europe, a horse confirmed to start in a race. Deductions When a horse is scratched from a race after betting on that race has already started, deductions are taken out of the win and place bets at a rate in proportion to the odds of the scratched horse.

Derby A stakes event for three-year-olds. Distanced Well beaten, finishing a long distance behind the winner. Dog US The underdog in any betting proposition. Dog Player US A bettor who mainly wagers on the underdog. Double Selecting the winners in two specific races. Draw Refers to a horse's placing in the starting stalls. For flat racing only. Stall numbers are drawn at random. Driving Strong urging by rider. Dual Forecast A tote bet operating in races of 3 or more declared runners in which the punter has to pick the first two to finish in either order.

Back to Top. An each way bet is when you have the same amount on the horse for a win and for a place. Bookmakers will give you one quarter of the win odds for a place in fields of eight or more and one third of the win odds in fields of six or seven horses. Each Way Double Two separate bets of a win double and a place double. Each Way Single Two bets. The first is for the selection to win; the second for it to be placed each way.

Eclipse Award Thoroughbred racing's year-end awards, honoring the top horses in 11 separate categories. Enclosure The area where the Runners gather for viewing before and after the race. Equibase Company A partnership between The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations to establish and maintain an industry-owned, central database of racing records.

Equibase past-performance information is used in track programs across North America. Evenly Neither gaining nor losing position or distance during a race. Even Money Bet or Evens A bet. Exacta Also, Perfecta A wager that picks the first two finishers in a race in the exact order of finish. Straight Forecast in the UK. Exacta Box A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are covered.

Exotic wager Any wager other than win, place or show. Exposure The amount of money one actually stands to lose on a game or race. Extended Forced to run at top speed. False Favorite A horse that is a race favorite despite being outclassed by others. Faltered A horse that was in contention early in the race but drops back in the late stages. Fast track Optimum condition for a dirt track that is dry, even, resilient and fast.

Favorite The most popular horse in a race, which is quoted at the lowest odds because it is deemed to have the best chance of winning the race. Feature Races Top races. Fence The inside fence is the inside running rail around the race track, while the outside fence is the outside running rail.

Field 1 All the runners in a race. This is known as favorite vs the field betting and is common in horse and golf betting. Field Horse Two or more starters running as a single betting unit, when there are more entrants than positions on the totalisator board can accommodate. Filly Female horse four-years-old or younger. Firm track A condition of a turf course corresponding to fast on a dirt track.

A firm, resilient surface. First Up The first run a horse has in a new campaign or preparation. Fixed Odds Your dividend is fixed at the odds when you placed your bet. Fixture See 'Meeting'. Flag A bet consisting of 23 bets a 'Yankee' plus 6 'Single Stakes About' bets in pairs on 4 selections in different event.

Flash US Change of odds information on tote board. Flat race Contested on level ground as opposed to a steeplechase. Flatten Out When a horse drops his head almost in a straight line with his body, generally from exhaustion. Foal A baby horse, usually refers to either a male or female horse from birth to January 1st of the following year.

Fold When preceded by a number, a fold indicates the number of selections in an accumulator e. Forecast A wager that involves correctly predicting the 1st and 2nd for a particular event. This bet can be straight, reversed or permed. USA, Perfecta or Exacta. Form Statistics of previous performance and comment as to the expected current performance of a runner, useful in deciding which runner to bet on.

Form Player A bettor who makes selections from past-performance records. Front-runner A horse whose running style is to attempt to get on or near the lead at the start of the race and stay there as long as possible. Frozen track A condition of a racetrack where any moisture present is frozen. Full Cover All the doubles, trebles and accumulators involved in a given number of selections. Furlong One-eighth of a mile or yards or feet approx. Futures Also, Ante Post Bets placed in advance predicting the outcome of a future event.

Gait Harness horses are divided into two distinct groups, pacers or trotters, depending on their gait when racing. The gait is the manner in that a horse moves its legs when running. The pacer is a horse with a lateral gait, whereas a trotter or square-gaiter has a diagonal gait.

Gate Another term for barrier, or position a horse will start from. Gelding A male horse that has been castrated. Gentleman Jockey Amateur rider, generally in steeplechases. Going The condition of the racecourse firm, heavy, soft, etc. Good track Condition between fast and slow, generally a bit wet. A dirt track that is almost fast or a turf course slightly softer than firm.

Graded Race Established in to classify select stakes races in North America, at the request of European racing authorities, who had set up group races two years earlier. Capitalized when used in race title the Grade I Kentucky Derby. See 'Group Race' below. Graduate Winning for the first time. Green An inexperienced horse.

Group Race An elite group of races. Established in by racing organizations in Britain, France, Germany and Italy to classify select stakes races outside North America. Collectively called 'Pattern Races'. Equivalent to North American graded races. Always denoted with Arabic numerals 1, 2, or 3. Capitalized when used in race title the Group 1 Epsom Derby. See 'Graded Race' above. Hand Four inches. A horse's height is measured in hands and inches from the top of the shoulder withers to the ground, e.

Thoroughbreds typically range from 15 to 17 hands. Handicap 1 Race for which the track handicapper assigns the weights to be carried. Each horse is allocated a different weight to carry, the theory being all horses then run on a fair and equal basis.. Handicapper The official who decides the weights to be carried in handicap events, and the grading of horses and greyhounds. Hand Ride The jockey urges a horse with the hands and arms without using the whip. Hard track A condition of a turf course where there is no resiliency to the surface.

Head A margin between horses. One horse leading another by the length of its head. Head Of The Stretch Beginning of the straight run to the finish line. Heavy track Wettest possible condition of a turf course, similar to muddy but slower; not usually found in North America. Hedge The covering of a bet with a second bet. Hedging A bet made by a cautious bookie on a horse on which he has accepted large bets - in order to cut his losses if the horse wins also known as a 'lay-off bet'.

Heinz A Heinz is a multiple bet consisting of 57 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The multiple bet breakdown is 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15x4-folds, 6x5-folds and one 6-fold. High Weight Highest weight assigned or carried in a race.

Home Turn The final turn a horse must travel around before entering the home straight in the run to the finish line. Horse When reference is made to sex, a 'horse' is an ungelded male five-years-old or older. Hung A horse holding the same position, unable to make up distance on the winner.

Impost Weight carried or assigned. In Hand Running under moderate control, at less than best pace. Inquiry Reviewing the race to check into a possible infraction of the rules. Also, a sign flashed by officials on the tote board on such occasions. If lodged by a jockey, it is called an objection. In The Money Describes the horses in a race that finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd and sometimes 4th or the horses on which money will be paid to bettors, depending on the place terms.

Investor A bettor. A person at a licensed race meeting who bets with a bookmaker or the totalisator, or a person not present at the meeting, but places bets on the horses engaged at that meeting with the off-course totalisator. Joint Favourites When a sportsbook or bookmaker cannot separate two horses or teams for favouritism, they are made joint favourites.

Judge The person who declares the official placing for each race. Juice The bookmaker's commission, also known as vigorish or vig. Jumper Steeplechase or hurdle horse. Jolly The favourite in a race. Judge The official who determines the finishing order of a race.

Juvenile Two-year-old horse. Key Horse The main expected winning horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic wager. Late Double A second daily double offered during the latter part of the program. See 'Daily Double' above. Lay Off, Layoff Bets made by one bookmaker with another bookmaker, in an effort to reduce his liability in respect of bets already laid by him with investors.

Leg In To nominate one runner to win with a selection of other runners. Quinella bet with selection 4 to win, from runners 5, 7, 8 and 9 to come second, in any order. Length A measurement approximating the length of a horse from nose to tail, about 8 feet, used to denote distance between horses in a race. For example, "Secretariat won the Belmont by 31 lengths".

Lengthen The opposite of 'Shorten'. Referred to odds getting longer, that is, more attractive to the bettor. Listed Race A stakes race just below a group race or graded race in quality. Lock As in 'Banker' US term for an almost certain winner. Easy winner. Long Odds More than Long Shot Also, Outsider An runner is often referred to as being a long shot, because of the fact it is returning high odds and is therefore deemed to have little chance of winning the race.

Lug In Out Action of a tiring horse, bearing in or out, failing to keep a straight course. Maiden 1 A horse or rider that has not won a race. Maiden Race A race for non-winners. Mare Female horse five-years-old or older. Market The list of all horses engaged in a race and their respective odds. Meeting A collection of races conducted by a club on the same day or night forms a race meeting. Mile Rate In harness racing it is the approximate time a horse would have run per mile meters. Minus Pool A mutuel pool caused when a horse is so heavily played that, after deductions of state tax and commission, there is not enough money left to pay the legally prescribed minimum on each winning bet.

The racing association usually makes up the difference. Money Rider A rider who excels in rich races. Morning Glory Horse who performs well in morning workouts but fails to fire in actual races. Morning Line Approximate odds quoted before wagering begins. Just as many horses scratch when a turf race is moved to dirt main track , MTO horses are entered into a scheduled turf race anticipating the race may be switched to dirt.

Turf races occasionally include MTO entrants. They will be added into the field if the race is taken off the turf and scratches can accommodate them. Mudder A horse that races well on muddy tracks. Also known as a 'Mudlark'. Muddy track A condition of a racetrack which is wet but has no standing water. Mutuel Pool Short for 'Parimutuel Pool'. Sum of the wagers on a race or event, such as the win pool, daily double pool, exacta pool, etc.

Nap The selection that racing correspondents and tipsters nominate as their strongest selection of the day or meeting. Reputed to stand for 'Napoleon'. National Thoroughbred Racing Association NTRA A non-profit, membership organization created in to improve economic conditions and public interest in Thoroughbred racing.

Neck Unit of measurement about the length of a horse's neck. Nod Lowering of head. To win by a nod, a horse extends its head with its nose touching the finish line ahead of a close competitor. Nominations The complete list of runners entered by owners and trainers for a race. Nose Smallest advantage a horse can win by. Called a short head in Britain.

Nursery A handicap for two-year-old horses. Oaks A stakes event for three-year-old fillies females. Objection Claim of foul lodged by rider, patrol judge or other official after the running of a race. If lodged by official, it is called an inquiry. Odds The sportsbook's or bookmaker's view of the chance of a competitor winning adjusted to include a profit.

The figure or fraction by which a bookmaker or totalisator offers to multiply a bettor's stake, which the bettor is entitled to receive plus his or her own stake if their selection wins. Odds-against Where the odds are greater than evens e. When the bookmaker's or totalisator's stake is greater than the bettor's stake. Odds Compiler Same as 'Oddsmaker' below. Oddsmaker A person who sets the betting odds. Sportsbooks or Bookies don't set the odds.

Most major sportsbooks use odds set by Las Vegas oddsmakers. Odds Man US At tracks where computers are not in use, an employee who calculates changing odds as betting progresses. Odds-On Odds of less than even money.

This a bet where you have to outlay more than you win. For example if a horse is two to one Odds-On, you have to outlay two dollars to win one dollar and your total collect if the horse wins is three dollars. That is made up of your two dollars and the one dollar you win. Official Sign displayed when result is confirmed. As the name suggests, "exotic" wagers are fancier and more complicated.

They involve more than one horse. This means they're harder to win, but they also pay more than straight bets. Here are a few examples of exotic bets. Got all that? If so, you're all set—now off to the track! Cindy Pierson Dulay. Cindy Pierson Dulay is a horse-racing expert, journalist and award-winning photographer. She is the owner and editor of Horse-Races.

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